We’re finally here.
The fantasy football playoffs. Playing for all the marbles.
In honor of the first week of the fantasy playoffs, I went back in time and talked to former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora about fantasy football.
Here was our conversation:
JM: And that was a disgraceful performance in my opinion.
DJ: Well coach, you did start Matt Ryan last week. I get it. He’s the reigning NFL MVP, but if you ask me, he’s an LVP this season.
JM: We threw that game. We gave it away, by doing that.
DJ: You know, now that you mention it, you did have Alvin Kamara and Marc Ingram — two top-10 running backs — on your bench and instead played Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. They’re not even top-30 running backs.
JM: We gave them the freaking game. In my opinion that sucked.
DJ: Wait, coach, are you saying you colluded? Just, we’re going to forget about that for a second. Fantasy football playoffs start this week. It’s the first round. You have the No. 3 seed. Pretty good matchup. You excited?
JM: What’s that?
DJ: Fantasy football playoffs. Are you thinking about starting Jordy Nelson this week? I know it’s been some tough sledding since Aaron Rodgers got hurt, but he is playing the Cleveland Browns and they haven’t won yet, so it’s a pretty favorable matchup.
JM: Playoffs!?! Don’t talk about playoffs!
DJ: But why? Coach, they start this week. I feel like we should talk about them. At least a little bit.
JM: You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game.
DJ: Me too, coach. Me too.
Must have: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
The Kansas City Chiefs defense was bad against the pass to begin with. Without Marcus Peters, it’s horrendous, especially if it means Darrelle Revis is in line for more playing time.
Pass: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
This Los Angeles Chargers defense is no joke. Without Terrelle Pryor and Jordan Reed, I’d be looking elsewhere for my quarterback.
Worth a shot: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
If Stafford wasn’t banged up with a injury to his throwing hand, he might be my must-star quarterback, but healthy he is not. He’s still a QB1 against a bad Tampa Bay defense.
Must have: Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
Lewis just rushed for a career-high 112 yards against the Miami Dolphins a couple of weeks ago. He had a couple of touchdowns vultured from him by Rex Burkhead last week against the Buffalo Bills. He’s an RB2 this week. So is Burkhead.
Pass: Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
If you’ve been starting Williams the last few weeks, you’ve lucked out. He’s no more than a flex against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns do one thing right, and it’s defend the run.
Worth a shot: Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins
Perine should get some solid run here against the Chargers. Los Angeles is pretty bad against the run. He’s a borderline RB2.
Must have: Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
It’s the perfect storm. The Chiefs are so bad against the pass and Amari Cooper may not return on Sunday. Crabtree is a borderline WR1 and a tremendous play in daily fantasy as well.
Pass: Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Rams
While Watkins has caught touchdowns in four of his last five games, the volume isn’t there. Since Week 8, the Philadelphia Eagles have allowed the fewest passing yards per attempt, according to ESPN. Watkins is a boom-or-bust flex play.
Worth a shot: Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo Bills
Benjamin is a risk. He might have Nathan Peterman throwing balls to him, but is worth that risk in a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. With Jordan Matthews out of the picture, Benjamin has an opportunity to make an impact in his first start since Week 11.
Must have: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten’s facing the New York Giants. He’s a top-5 play this week. Enough said.
Pass: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
I don’t know. You might be desperate and want to play Olsen, but I just don’t trust him. Not only does Olsen have a tough matchup in the Minnesota Vikings, but his injured foot could slow him down.
Worth a shot: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets
Seferian-Jenkins has struggled the last few weeks, but he could bounce back in a favorable matchup against the Denver Broncos, who give up the second-most yards to tight ends this season. He’s a TE1.